Saturday, April 16, 2011

War Over the War in Libya

The Washington Post claimed yesterday that French and British forces were proving ineffective in Libya owing to lack of flight time and shortage of precision weapons. These were problems that I foresaw in my various comments on the intervention. There is pushback, however, from Jean Guisnel, writing in Le Point, whose bottom line is that the Post article is in fact a covert advertisement for US weapons manufacturers:

L'article du Washington Post considère, sans l'écrire explicitement, que les Européens feraient bien d'acheter davantage d'armements aux États-Unis s'ils veulent faire la guerre sérieusement. Rien de neuf...
Well, the course of true love never did run smooth. Tempers often run high in joint military ventures. Still, the Libyan operations raise--yet again--many questions about what NATO's role in the world now is. With several member states opposed to the intervention and the US committed largely so that it can remain imperturbably uncommitted, we are somewhere between a Franco-British action à la Suez and a Coalition of the Reluctant.

Meanwhile, the latest atrocity attributed to Qaddafi is the use of cluster munitions in Misrata. This issue has been raised in part to spur NATO (read: the US) to commit additional forces. The irony here, of course, is that while many countries have banned cluster munitions as inhumane, the US is not among them and continues not only to keep such weapons in its arsenal but also to use them when military commanders deem the situation warrants. It would be ironic indeed if cluster bombs were dropped on pro-Qaddafi forces to prevent them from directing rockets equipped with cluster payloads against the citizens of Misrata.

Meanwhile, with the publication of the joint Obama-Sarkozy-Cameron declaration, the official mission seems to have shifted from protection of civilian populations to regime change. This, too, was predictable, but it is far from clear that the three leaders have an agreed strategy on how to achieve this aim or what to do about what may happen after it is achieved.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

<< L'article du Washington Post considère, sans l'écrire explicitement, que les Européens feraient bien d'acheter davantage d'armements aux États-Unis s'ils veulent faire la guerre sérieusement. Rien de neuf... >>

http://www.lepoint.fr/chroniqueurs-du-point/jean-guisnel/les-etranges-affirmations-du-washington-post-sur-la-guerre-en-libye-16-04-2011-1320078_53.php

Mélanie

Arthur Goldhammer said...

What is the point of this comment, which simply quotes something I already quoted in the post? Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Mr. Goldhammer. It is just that I detest the weapons trade and felt very angry.

Mélanie